I posted this in reply to comments on my research into learning, and I think it’s worth repeating:
Note that I am trying to use the research to supplement the time-tested method known as “tons of practice,” rather than replace it. 😉 Scientists are human. They misinterpret data by mistake or because they aren’t looking in the right place, or because they want a specific result. Reality is unruly. It can present even the most honest, careful researcher with a lot of data points that don’t hold true in the wider world.
I have found there are two important things to remember when trying to apply research to make your life easier:
1: Hedge your bets. There is a way that works and is well known. Always use that method as well unless you’re doing an experiment rather than trying to learn the thing for its own sake.
2: If anyone claims that you don’t have to put any effort in, or even significantly less effort, be very, very suspicious. Every single trick I’ve learned that has actually worked for me has not changed the amount of effort, but merely moved it around (e.g. a choice between less self control for a longer time or more self control for a shorter time).
Remember, kids: knowing is half the battle.